Saturday, September 13, 2008

HR - Training:- Training and Motivating Older Workers

Look around your workplace and chances are you'll see more photos of grandchildren on desks and at workstations than ever before. All those late middle-aged and older workers need training and motivation to keep performing at their best just as much as the younger ones. So don't ignore them, don't misjudge them, and, above all, don't sideline them. You could be wasting some of your best workers.

What Does An Aging Workforce have to Offer Your Organization?
The answer is lots! For example, middle-aged and older workers:

--Are generally experienced and knowledgeable about the job and the organization.
--Tend to have a strong work ethic and take pride in their work.
--Often have superior judgment, especially when it comes to safety.
--Tend to make fewer mistakes than their younger co-workers.--Are among the most loyal to the organization.
--Are usually committed to quality and productivity standards.
--Often are more reliable and have better attendance records than younger workers.
--Tend to have better workplace safety records than younger workers.

Tips for Training An Aging Workforce.
Here are some suggestions to help ensure successful training outcomes when you're dealing with an aging workforce:

--Don't Buy Into Myths about Older Workers (the "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" mentality), and don't make assumptions about their goals and aspirations.

--Give Them the Same Training Opportunities
and hold them to the same evaluation standards as younger workers.

--Make Sure they Keep Up to the Minute On All Workplace Issues,
including new technologies, rules, and procedures that affect their work.

--Give them the Opportunity to Participate In Self-Paced Training
as well as group training. You can usually count on them to meet self-paced training schedules, learn what they need to learn, and come find you if they have questions.

--Take the Aging Process Into Account When You Plan Group Training.
Remember that the older your trainees, the more vision and hearing problems you might have in the group. Make sure visuals are big enough for everyone to see, and check the training venue for good lighting and acceptable acoustics ahead of time.

Tips for Motivating An Aging Workforce.
Motivation and training go hand-in-hand. To keep an aging workforce motivated as well as well trained:

--Talk to Middle-Aged and Older Workers to Find Out What they Really Want from Their Jobs at this point in their careers. The answers will likely vary quite a bit, so listen carefully. What you hear will tell you which will be the most powerful motivators for individual employees.

--Keep Providing Challenges.
Give them their share of interesting, motivating assignments. Don't assume that older workers don't want to be bothered. Give them the chance to excel and earn the recognition they deserve and want.

--Maintain High Standards. Apply the same performance standards and evaluation methods to all workers, regardless of age. Keep setting performance goals with older workers. Never write them off and go through the motions on a performance appraisal just because they're getting on in years.

--Get them Involved In Training, Coaching, and Mentoring Younger Employees. For many experienced and knowledgeable middle-aged and older employees, this role is a lot of fun and highly motivating. And they're often very good at it, too.

Why It Matters...

--According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), by 2010 middle-aged and older workers will outnumber younger ones.
--By that year, the number of employees aged 59 to 64 is expected to be 21.2 million, compared with about 14 million in 2000.
--And the number of workers 65 and older should reach about 5.4 million, up more than a million from 2000 figures.
--The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits discrimination against employees 40 years of age and older in the terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

Thanks to BLR

HR - Strange:- The Dictators Among Us

Twenty-five percent of employees claim their workplace is a dictatorship, according to a survey conducted for the Workplace Democracy Association by Zogby Interactive.

The Workplace Democracy Association is an organization that promotes the benefits of workplace democracy. The organization says democratic workplaces share information, discretion, and rewards among employees.

Asher Adelman, founder and president of the organization, said the finding that so many employees feel they work at mini-dictatorships is unfortunate because it affects productivity.

"Traditionally managed companies, by inadvertently draining the motivation levels of their employees, are stifling productivity, innovation, and creativity," Adelman said. "Companies cannot expect to remain competitive when such large numbers of employees do not feel like they are treated like responsible adults nor when they feel like their input has little or no impact on the company's decision-making process."

The survey found that 80 percent of workers said they work better when they are given the freedom to decide how best to do their job.

The survey also found that only 52 percent of respondents said their boss treats subordinates well. Fewer than half of respondents said their workplace promotes creative or inventive ideas.

Some of the respondents in the survey also took a swipe at HR professionals and upper management for their hiring decisions. Thirty-one percent of respondents said they believe that their human resources departments or upper management "almost always" or "sometimes" hire the wrong people.

"Companies that want to boost employee engagement levels must adopt democratic and innovative practices in the way the entire company is managed," said Adelman. "Executives should be sharing information with all employees about the company's ongoing performance and goals, and employees should be empowered with greater discretion and decision-making abilities. In addition, it goes without saying that employees should be rewarded and compensated when the company is successful in achieving its goals."

The survey, which was conducted in May, included 2,475 respondents.

Thanks to BLR.

Quotes:- From Hallowell, Edison, Sullivan, Peale

In order to do what really matters to you, you have to, first of all, know what really matters to you. ~~~ Dr. Edward Hallowell

The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will 
interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.
Thomas Alva Edison

The size of the future you actually experience will 
largely be determined by one factor: the people you 
choose to connect with. When you invite people who are 
truly committed to growth into every aspect of your life, 
your own potential for growth becomes truly unlimited. ~~~ Dan Sullivan

Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously and never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop this picture! ~~~ Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Courtesy of "MyDailyInsights"

HR - Hiring:- Do You Measure Your Manager's Effectiveness at Hiring?

I know who my best interviewers/hiring managers are.  Or at least I think I do.   But that knowledge is more intuition than science, because I don't measure the success of my hiring managers.  Do you?  Probably not, because you have a million things to do.   But for companies ramping up their hiring efforts, it makes sense to track which hiring managers "get it", and identify those that don't.

How do you measure who makes quality hires?  In a recent Business Week back page column (subscription required), Jack Welch recently laid out this common sense approach called the "Hiring Batting Average":

"HERE'S HOW IT WORKS. Every candidate for a job at your company must be interviewed by at least three people in the organization beyond the hiring manager, and each interviewer must sign off with a "Hire" or "Don't Hire" vote. No maybes allowed. Fast-forward six months. Every new hire gets evaluated by his manager on how he has performed against expectations: below, meets, or exceeds. Soon enough, and with enough critical mass, you can start to compare every interviewer's "Hire" recommendations with actual performance. For instance, say a manager named Emily has approved 10 candidates and, six months out, eight of them are performing at or above expectations. Emily's HBA would be .800. That impressive score lets you know Emily is a first-rate evaluator of talent, and she should be rewarded accordingly. By contrast, say Emily's colleague John has given the nod to 12 hires and, after six months, only four are working out, for an HBA of .333. Keep John in his day job and away from picking people!"

I like the concept, but there are some "must-haves".  To effectively use this type of system, companies have to be OK with using the consensus-building system that Welch describes - 3 to 4 interviewers for each open position, with the hiring manager having final authority but everyone on the team being forced to say "yes or no".   For some hiring managers, this feels like they are giving up control.  They don't want the feedback, which feels like meddling.   An unwillingness to solicit feedback from others is likely a leading indicator of a low hiring batting average for these types of managers.

Another control issue with this type of metric would be the "gamers" of the system.  It's plausible that these gamers could simply pledge not to vote "yes" for any candidate who wasn't perfect or who wasn't a direct fit for the position in question.  As a result, their batting average might go up, but it would be fairly meaningless since multiple quality candidates might have been missed.  If the hiring manager still decided to hire such a candidate and he/she was successful, maybe you could debit the naysayer and call it a "miss" after the fact.

No system is perfect, and you'd have to fight through these types of issues.  Still, if you are hiring big groups of employees, it might make sense to give it a shot.  Welch also points to the fact that this type of vote might make managers more emotionally invested, which would lead to better employee support and even informal mentoring, which all companies need more of.

Last word - Batting .300 in baseball will make you an All-Star.  In hiring, it makes you unemployed....   

Thanks to "Fistful of Talent" 

Friday, September 12, 2008

Motivational:- The Magic Is In You

"When he realizes that he is a creative power, and that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow; he then becomes the rightful master of himself." - As A Man Thinketh

I was reading an old classic the other day, The Message of a master by John McDonald, and I was rocked by an incredibly insightful passage: "The cause of the confusion prevailing in your mind that weakens your thoughts is the false belief that there is a power or powers outside you greater than the power within you.

Stop and think about that. What keeps us from attempting greater things -- from reaching for the brass ring in our life? What makes us take that great idea that could make our family financially free and bury it underneath a lot of reasons why it'd never work? What stops us from that career change that would result in working in a profession we could really enjoy, could get passionate about?

There's only one thing that EVER stops us from forward momentum and McDonald nailed it: "the false belief that there is a power or powers outside you greater than the power within you."

As I once heard a speaker say,
"The magic is in YOU!" As James Allen tells us, once we realize that we can create our circumstances, then, and only then, are we truly the master of our life and our destiny.

That would indicate to me that we are already "endowed" with the power to do amazing things -- far more amazing than most of us will ever attempt -- if we'd only understand and BELIEVE that the power is within, not without.

And that's worth thinking about.

by Vic Johnson

Finance History:- What Are the Origins of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae?

In recent months, the nation's two largest mortgage finance lenders have come under increasing scrutiny at the hands of Congress, the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The Federal National Mortgage Association, nicknamed Fannie Mae, and the Federal Home Mortgage Corporation, nicknamed Freddie Mac, have operated since 1968 as government sponsored enterprises (GSEs). This means that, although the two companies are privately owned and operated by shareholders, they are protected financially by the support of the Federal Government. These government protections include access to a line of credit through the U.S. Treasury, exemption from state and local income taxes and exemption from SEC oversight. A recent accounting scandal at Freddie Mac that resulted in the replacement of three of the company's top executives has led to mounting concerns over the privileged status these GSEs enjoy in the marketplace.
Fannie Mae was created in 1938 as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. The collapse of the national housing market in the wake of the Great Depression discouraged private lenders from investing in home loans. Fannie Mae was established in order to provide local banks with federal money to finance home mortgages in an attempt to raise levels of home ownership and the availability of affordable housing.
Initially, Fannie Mae operated like a national savings and loan, allowing local banks to charge low interest rates on mortgages for the benefit of the home buyer. This lead to the development of what is now known as the secondary mortgage market. Within the secondary mortgage market, companies such as Fannie Mae are able to borrow money from foreign investors at low interest rates because of the financial support that they receive from the U.S. Government. It is this ability to borrow at low rates that allows Fannie Mae to provide fixed interest rate mortgages with low down payments to home buyers. Fannie Mae makes a profit from the difference between the interest rates homeowners pay and foreign lenders charge.
For the first thirty years following its inception, Fannie Mae held a veritable monopoly over the secondary mortgage market. In 1968, due to fiscal pressures created by the Vietnam War, Lyndon B. Johnson privatized Fannie Mae in order to remove it from the national budget. At this point, Fannie Mae began operating as a GSE, generating profits for stock holders while enjoying the benefits of exemption from taxation and oversight as well as implied government backing. In order to prevent any further monopolization of the market, a second GSE known as Freddie Mac was created in 1970. Currently, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac control about 90 percent of the nation's secondary mortgage market.
GSEs such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mae, with their combination of private enterprise and public backing have experienced a period of unprecedented financial growth over the past few decades. The current assets of these two companies combine for a total that is 45 percent greater than that of the nation's largest bank.
On the other hand, their combined debt is equal to 46 percent of the current national debt. It is this combination of rapid growth and over leveraging that has lead to the current concerns of Congress, the Justice Department and the SEC with regards to the financial practices of these GSEs.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the only two Fortune 500 companies that are not required to inform the public about any financial difficulties that they may be having. In the event that there was some sort of financial collapse within either of these companies, U.S. taxpayers could be held responsible for hundreds of billions of dollars in outstanding debts. A recent investigation by the Justice Department and the SEC into the accounting practices at Freddie Mac revealed accounting errors in the amount of 4.5 to 4.7 billion dollars and resulted in the termination of three of the company's top executives. Ongoing investigations by Congress, particular the House Finance Services subcommittee that oversees the activity of GSEs, will determine the future role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the secondary mortgage market that they dominate.
By Rob Alford

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Motivational:- How Many Apples are in One Apple Seed?

Clark and Mason were sitting in the break room talking about business strategies for their small company. Mason, ever the worrier, was expressing his frustrations over how "quick success" seemed to be eluding them. Mason said to Clark, "I can't see any evidence of our hard work. It seems like every thing that we have done has been to no avail."

Clark, a more seasoned businessperson, sat listening to his business partner, while peeling a big red apple. He understood Mason's frustration. Early in his business career, Clark had similar feelings and often gave up on his goals prematurely because he did not believe in himself. Fortunately, Clark gained understanding of the need for belief and patience.

Holding up the apple he was peeling, Clark said to Mason, "See this apple, Mason. When I cut it in half, we can count the number of seeds in it." Clark cut the apple in half and noted the number of seeds in the core of the apple. He held up one seed for Mason to see. "However," Clark continued, "we cannot count the number of apples in one seed." Mason looked at Clark as he momentarily struggled to understand how Clark's example related to his concerns.

Clark continued, "We cannot know how many "trees" will grow and bear fruit from our efforts thus far. Now is the time to assume that our seed will bear fruit, to see the orchard filled with trees loaded with apples, which have been fertilized with belief and confidence, and watered with enthusiasm. We must be careful not to allow the weeds of negativity and doubt strangle the new plants as they struggle to grow into fruit-bearing trees."

* * * * * * * * * *
Often, it is very difficult for us to see beyond what is present, or absent, for a period of time after we have made a decision and taken action. The silence between the time that we launch our goal and when we begin to see the results of our efforts can be deafening. It is during this time that we may lose momentum and enthusiasm for our goals.

Also, our ability to see thousands of apples in one apple seed may separate the truly successful people from those who experience only a modicum of success.

"I will maintain a vision of what I want, need or desire, confident in my abilities to achieve success even when I cannot yet see the results of my efforts." 
Have a clear vision week!

By Mary Rau-Foster

Marketing:- Make Yourself an Expert!

Can I let you in on a little marketing secret? If you are lacking exposure or the kind of public relations you would love to have, it's time to start showing yourself as an expert.

This isn't a fake it until you make it speech, it's simply teaching you how to become an expert that can be found. Have you ever wondered how people get picked for magazine interviews or how news channels find experts for certain segments of their show?

They go online. They use to use books that would help them hunt down experts in a certain field, but now the majority of their research is done online. After all, isn't that where you go when you look for expertise advice?

Let's take a look at 5 steps that can help you achieve the expert level that you desire and get the recognition that you've been working so hard for.

  1. Prove Your Point
    Don't just say you are an expert; prove it. Have you written articles? Do you have success stories to share? What about quotes on your abilities by current clients and associates? Your expertise is only as strong as your online exposure.

  2. Put Yourself Out There
    Frequent forums within your industry and answer questions that others may have. Publish articles on industry wide sites. Sure it takes some work and you might have an article that gets rejected here and there - but don't stop. Hire a copywriter if you lack writing skills. Pen your thoughts and hand them over, it's ok to let them do the composition and grammatical work.

    Also if you don't own a website - preferably one with your own name as the domain - try to figure out a way to get it. If that's impossible you may want to consider changing your name, ok just kidding. Truth is you do want to have an online domain whether it be your company domains or a creative marketing domain it's important to have one that people will remember.

  3. Network Online
    We all know that social networks are popular online, but they aren't just for kids anymore. Many people are creating profiles that showcase their expertise and their knowledge as well as their network of contacts. If you aren't using social networks you my friend are missing out on opportunities that your competitors are gaining.

  4. Google Yourself
    Are you there? If not, it's time to hire a search engine optimization expert or teach yourself. If you can't find yourself - others seeking out your expertise can't either. You also want to make sure that when you do Google yourself that the results don't contain inappropriate material. Always remember that the Internet is an open book and what you post online stays online. There are many people that have ruined there careers by thinking that their "hidden" lives will never be found out. Fact is - it's untrue. If you do find that your past is haunting you in the Google results you may want to consider trying to clean it up yourself or invest in hiring a reputation/identity company.

  5. Stay Above the Trends
    Now that you've put yourself out there as an expert you have to walk the talk. Do what you write about. Stay on top of your industry. Be the first to write about what's going on. Don't be afraid to put your voice out there including your opinion. To stay an expert you must stay ahead of the game; nap time is over.
By Laura Lake

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Quote:- Imagination

"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions." -- Albert Einstein

"Imagination has always had powers of resurrection that no science can match."
Ingrid Bengis

"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." --
Mark Twain

"Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier." --
Charles F. Kettering